Autonomous delivery business Starship Technologies has raised $40 million in funding to expand its business.
The Estonian manufacturer, which is headquartered in the US, was established by Skype co-founders Janus Friis and Ahti Heinla and has garnered $85 million in support to date.
The primary product of the company is a six-wheeled robot that are designed to provide last-mile delivery of food, groceries, and small packages.
CEO of Starship Technologies, Lex Bayer, predicted in early 2019 that this year would be a watershed year for autonomous delivery. With congestion charges increasing in European cities, the lack of cost efficiencies from half-full delivery vans, and consumers’ insatiable appetite for delivered products, autonomous delivery technologies have continued to grow.
According to a report from consulting company McKinsey, the number of packages needed to be delivered each year in the US could rise to 25 billion in the next ten years.
The latest round of funding will be used to expand the business to more university campuses in the US.
So far, Amazon and Nuro, among other companies including Deutsche Post and TwinswHeel, have put money towards automated delivery. The deliver giants hope to reduce costs while improving customer service with autonomous delivery devices.
Already, Starship Technologies’ robots have fulfilled grocery and food orders in the UK city of Milton Keynes for supermarket brands such as Tesco and Co-op. In the US the focus has been largely on university campuses.
Capital for Starship Technologies has come from Morpheus Ventures, Shasta Ventures, Matrix Partners, and MetaPlanet Holdings, as well as TDK Ventures and Qu Ventures.